Killen's Barbecue announced that starting this week, the restaurant will exclusively use American Wagyu, Black Grade brisket from Snake River Farms, a family-owned subsidiary of Agri Beef Company, based in Boise, Idaho.
At a private tasting earlier this afternoon, the Houston Press was able to preview the new smoked brisket first hand. Owner and chef Ronnie Killen explained that after months of research and development, he concluded that Snake River Farms’ marbled American Wagyu Gold brisket resulted in the "moistest smoked brisket he’s ever had, even better than the premium product previously sourced from Creekstone Farms." But the Gold Grade is only offered in limited quantities, so it will only be used in competitions.
According to its website, Agri has been in the meat business since 1968. The American Wagyu Gold Grade brisket has a BMS (Beef Marbling Standard) of 9+, and the Black Grade has a score of 6 to 8, both higher than USDA Prime and rich with the highest level of marbling offered by Snake River Farms. Both grades are Wagyu crossed with high-quality Angus.
The smoked brisket had a beautiful sheen and color. The meat was tender and moist, both in the samples of lean and fatty brisket. Killen says the cost of the brisket on the menu increased by two dollars per pound, making it $22 per pound, which is pretty reasonable considering diners will be enjoying a premium, quality product.
Killen's Barbecue is located at 3613 East Broadway in Pearland, just look for the line of hungry barbecue lovers out the door. Hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday and closed on Monday.